Today, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop signed the Earned Sick Day Ordinance into law. Seveal local business owners think the new statute will not only promote the health of Jersey City residents, but also help their bottom lines. Legislators in Trenton are also pursuing the issue hoping to make it a statewide law.

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“I’ve always given my workers paid sick days, and not just because it’s the decent thing to do.  Healthy workers are more productive workers,” said Steve Kalcanides, owner of Helen’s Pizza “Giving my employees time to get well or take care of sick family members increases loyalty and decreases turnover. What’s great about this law is that it will keep businesses that don’t provide their workers sick days from undercutting businesses like mine.”

The Jersey City ordinance allows workers to earn up to five paid sick days a year for all workers in businesses with ten or more employees. Employees are eligible to earn one hour of paid sick time for every thirty hours worked, for up to a maximum of forty paid sick hours per year.

“As an employer, the last thing I want is for an employee to come to work sick for fear of a day's pay,” says Phillip Stamborski, owner of Gallerie Hudson. “We even heard from some workers who were afraid of losing their job if they were sick. I don’t want one employee getting me and the rest of my employees sick. Then I lose even more productivity and revenue.”

Under the Jersey City statute, workers in businesses with fewer than ten employees are eligible to earn up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time. The ordinance will go into effect 120 days from its passage, on Jan. 25 of 2014.

Jersey City joins five other cities with sick day policies, including Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Seattle; New York City; and Portland, Oregon. Newark is considering an earned sick days ordinance.